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It Just Gets Uglier for HSBC, Costa Rica and Panama Branches Accused of Violating Cuba Embargo

Article Summary:

The Costa Rican branch, like those of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, and Colombia have been accused by the U.S. Senate of being involved in opening and maintaining accounts in dollars of Cuban embassies and citizens of the island with restriction, during the period 2002 to 2007. These actions, say U.S. officials, are in direct violation of the embargo Washington imposed on Havana in 1962.

Photo Credit: Nacion

Original Article Text From Nacion via Google Translate :

HSBC says that Costa Rican Senate Violated the Embargo Against Cuba
A U.S. Senate report points to the HSBC bank branch in Costa Rica in a list of branches of the financial institution involved with alleged irregular transactions.
The Costa Rican branch, like those of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama and Colombia are involved in opening and maintaining accounts in dollars of Cuba embassies and citizens of the island with restriction, between the period 2002 to 2007.

This, despite the financial constraints of the embargo Washington imposed on Havana in 1962, said the document.

HSBC Costa Rica operates under that name since July 2007, after acquiring the bank’s operations Banex (Banistmo). In January this year the bank Davivienda, Colombia’s capital, bought the operation and Honduras and El Salvador, a process that is under review by the financial supervisory authorities in several countries.

The circumstances referred to in the Senate are based on an internal report called HSBC Mexico requested information regarding North Korea, Cuba, and Burma .

Finding. The Senate report indicates that the movements were detected by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of Town (OFAC, for its acronym in English), under the Treasury Department United States, which produced a list of people and countries with that banks are prohibited from doing business, and created a filter to identify and stop potential unauthorized transactions.

According to the document U.S. vulnerabilities to money laundering, drugs and terrorist financing: HSBC case history , “some branches” of the bank sent through HBUS (U.S. subsidiary of HSBC), between 2002 and 2007, potentially prohibited transactions with Cuba, North Korea, Burma, Sudan and other nations or people you are forbidden to make this step, in “apparent violation” of the bank’s own policies and the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

In May 2007, HSBC Mexico had 23 clients Cuban dollar accounts and assets containing “excess” of $ 348,000 and 61 clients with accounts in Cuban pesos and in dollars per $ 966,000, the report mentions.

With these data, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee determined that HSBC affiliates in Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama “were also providing dollar accounts” to Cuban citizens.

Also found that arrangements were made to cancel “all business relationships” with clients Cubans with dollar bills and commercial relations throughout the region.

Without success, The Universal sought a reaction from the Cuban government on the report, which devotes two full pages to the island.

The nation , meanwhile, tried to check the version of HSBC Costa Rica, however the news was released on a holiday and their representatives did not answer phones or emails.

Link to Original Article:

From Nacion

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